There are many outside of the order who have only a limited and superficial knowledge of the antiquity and universality of Masonry or its designs and purposes.

For the benefit of such readers it may be well, at the outset to allude to certain facts, relating to the origin of the order. “At the building of King Solomon’s Temple and for centuries later Masonry was a co-operative order of actual builders. The Mason’s Guilds having in their possession the secrets of architecture or geometry were able to erect those wonderful cathedrals of which so many remain in England and on the Continent. Because of such ability their fraternity included men of high rank; even Royalty itself was gladly admitted as it gave their Lodges greater prestige. But in the latter part of the 17th century cathedral building was on the decline and in 1716 there were only four Lodges in London holding meetings. They met in taverns or ale houses and on the 14th of June 1717 the four Lodges met and founded the Grand Lodge of England. Here follows the record of that event. “King George I, entered London most magnificently on September 20, 1714 and after the Rebellion was over A.D. 1716, the few Lodges in London, finding themselves neglected by Sir Christopher Wren, thought fit to cement under a Grand Master as the center of union and harmony viz: (1) at the Goose and Gridiron ale house in St. Paul’s Church yard, (2) at the Crown ale house in Parker’s Lane near Drury Lane, (3) at the Apple Tree tavern in Charles Street, Covent Garden, (4) at the Rummer and Grapes tavern in Channel Row, Westminster. They and some old brothers met at the Apple Tree tavern and having put in the chair the oldest Master Mason they constituted themselves a Grand Lodge protempore in due form, and resolved to have the annual feast later and then to choose a Grand Master. Accordingly on St. John the Baptist’s day A.D 1717 the assembly and fest of the Free and Accepted Masons were held at the Goose and Gridiron ale house and duly elected officers.”

Origins of Freemasonry

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